Stone Fish Trap Rediscovered

In a remote corner of the world, east of Esperance, a stone fish trap has been re-discovered by Esperance Traditional Owners and an integrated research team operating within the Gabbie Kylie Foundation (National Trust of Australia, W.A.). The find is the first fish trap so far recorded in the Esperance region. For Traditional Owner and Coordinator of the Foundation, Doc Reynolds, the find is a powerful reminder of his community’s connection to Country. “I remember using this area as a child, with the Old People catching a good feed here all the time. The old fellas had a very complex understanding of the seasons, tides, and animal behaviour, and were able to utilize sustainable techniques to harvest a catch with great skill and efficiency.” The site comprises a number of placed stones across a tidal creek and estuary, that were most likely supported by wooden stakes and other fibrous meshing, that have long since deteriorated. The trap was created as a subsistence strategy, harnessing the natural tidal cycles of this estuary, whereby fish move in and out with the tides but then some are blocked by this fish trap; and are therefore more easily speared or caught. People traditionally fished and hunted in seasonal cycles, careful to not over-exploit any one resource, to ensure sustainable futures.